Christmas is one of the most important celebrations of the Christian calendar, and many people take the opportunity to enjoy good food, gifts, and time with loved ones. However, modern festivities and a hectic schedule can often dilute the true meaning of the season and take focus away from the birth of Jesus and the revelations of the nativity.
While it's important to enjoy everything Christmas has to offer, it's also essential to make room for faith and contemplation during the festive season. Below, you can find five simple and effective ways to celebrate the reason for the season.
When you want to get away from the Christmas chaos and refocus your energy on Jesus, visiting a new place of worship can provide a calming sanctuary. Fortunately, there are plenty of awe-inspiring and serene churches and cathedrals within easy reach of the Bethesda Gardens assisted living community in Phoenix.
The Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral provides a breathtaking and contemporary setting for quiet contemplation and prayer. If you can't get to the cathedral in person, a pictorial tour of the interior is also available on the cathedral's website.
Alternatively, fans of traditional church architecture will enjoy the atmosphere at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Basilica, the second-oldest church in Phoenix. This historic building earned its place on the State Inventory of Historic Places of Arizona in 1977 and boasts a stunning Romanesque interior.
Christmas is a time for giving, and many Christians choose to follow Jesus' example of reaching out to those in need during the holiday season. Donating some of your time to a worthy cause is a great way to ensure that no community members in Phoenix are forgotten this Christmastime.
Residents of the Bethesda assisted living community and their families can find suitable volunteering opportunities through websites such as VolunteerMatch. The Phoenix Rescue Mission often needs volunteers for its faith-based charity endeavors and focuses on providing much-needed spiritual support and food supplies to local families.
However, it's also possible to serve your community from the comfort of your assisted living apartment. The Phoenix Dream Center recruits online volunteers to assist with various projects, including supporting victims of human trafficking and sponsoring young people at risk of homelessness.
Making a little time every day to follow the examples set by Jesus is an excellent antidote to the common feeling of overwhelm and excess at Christmas. Challenging yourself to do at least one good deed for others each day is an effective way to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and center your holiday schedule around doing God's work.
Even the smallest of good deeds can make a big difference to your family and the wider community, and you don't need to spend a lot of time or money to make a positive impact on someone else's life. Reaching out to a friend who you know is lonely, preparing a meal for loved ones or offering encouragement to someone who's struggling can spread some festive joy and realize the Gospels' Christmas message of goodwill to all men.
It can be all too easy to forget to make time for prayer and Bible study as Christmas approaches and schedules become jam-packed. Many people find that a visual cue provides a useful reminder for prioritizing faith at Christmas — and what better reminder than a nativity scene to decorate your home?
Setting a nativity scene up somewhere prominent in your family home or assisted living suite can help ensure that the reason for the season is always front and center in your home and mind. There are plenty of beautiful sets available in Christian stores and online, and setting your scene up at the beginning of the holidays is a lovely tradition to start the celebrations.
However, making your own nativity scene is a great activity to do with grandchildren and a good opportunity to discuss the religious significance of Christmas with them. You don't need to be a talented artist or crafter to make a beautiful nativity. There are plenty of easy-to-follow online nativity tutorials to show you how to make effective scenes out of household objects, such as craft sticks and even wooden spoons. Even better, you'll have a meaningful keepsake to treasure that is truly one-of-a-kind.
One of the most comforting and life-affirming parts of Christmas is engaging in family traditions and rituals, but trying something new can offer a fresh perspective on the familiar nativity story. Advent provides a great opportunity to explore new traditions and learn from other Christians from the Phoenix community and beyond.
Discussing favorite faith-based traditions with friends at the Bethesda Senior Living community is an excellent springboard to lively discussion and new ideas. However, you may also wish to consider adopting global traditions into your advent routine.
In Ireland, Christians traditionally place a candle in the largest window in the home on Christmas Eve as a symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph approaching the stable. You could use a battery-powered candle if you're concerned about the potential fire risk. Finnish Christmas traditions extend seasonal generosity to animals, and many Christians put out sheaves of wheat and nuts for birds and other wildlife to enjoy throughout the holidays.